WILMINGTON – It was Senior Night at St. Elizabeth, and the Vikings’ three 12th-graders, with some help from their younger teammates, showed the way in a 3-1 win over Wilmington Christian on Thursday night at the St. E Center. Set scores were 23-25, 25-20, 25-20 and 25-13.
The match was really a tale of two halves, as the first two sets were remarkably even, and the last two were firmly in the Vikings’ grasp. St. Elizabeth used a superior service game to power past the Warriors, who are athletic but young, with just one senior seeing regular playing time.
The teams were tied at a set apiece heading into the third, but that was when St. Elizabeth took control. The Vikings used a five-point run to take a 15-5 lead, and they just expanded the lead as the game wore on. Senior Elisa Hackendorn took the serve with her team ahead, 20-10, and promptly delivered an ace. A line violation and an unforced error by the Warriors sandwiched a dink by senior Karli Cathell, and at set point, Hackendorn’s serve hit the tape and fell straight down on Wilmington Christian’s side, giving the Vikings a 2-1 lead.
Hackendorn was on the serve in the fourth as St. E’s looked to put the match away. She took over with the score tied at one, and a few minutes later, the Vikings had scored seven straight, including another tape ace. The Warriors fought back, closing to within 11-7 on an impressive block by freshman Janae Carter, who had XX of them for the match.
Wilmington Christian sophomore Grace Kramp brought her squad to within 13-10 on a cross-court kill, but St. Elizabeth then scored the next six points to extend the advantage to 19-10 and effectively put the match out of reach. Hackendorn was on serve for that run as well, nailing two more aces and a service winner during the streak. Junior Kailee Gautier finished the match with yet another ace.
Those sets were in marked contrast to the first two. The first was tied at 11 before Wilmington Christian scored four straight, including a kill by freshman Kamani Conteh and an ace by junior libero Victoria Drumheller. The Vikings came back, forging ties at 22 and 23 before Conteh gave them set point with a kill and an unforced St. Elizabeth error ended it.
The second game featured several ties, the last at 18 when sophomore Alexis Lee scored on a kill. That point was part of a seven-point run for the Vikings with senior libero Morgan Zebley serving. The Warriors responded with two points, but Lee found a seam down the middle for set point, and an unforced error lifted the Vikings to the win.
Cathell led the victors with 10 kills and 13 digs, while Hackendorn had nine kills and 17 digs. The Vikings were credited with 17 aces – five for Hackendorn, four each for Cathell and Zebley. The team (5-9) completes its regular season on Monday at 5:15 p.m. at Delcastle, then waits to see if has earned enough points to make the state tournament.
For Wilmington Christian (2-10), Conteh had 12 kills. Dana Sorey and Daniela Solis added seven each. The Warriors finish a busy week Friday at home when Tower Hill visits for a 5:15 p.m. start.